09 Jan 2014

MOD to release funding for cyber security research

Summary: The MOD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is funding research into the growing culture of computer hackers as well as crowd behaviour and how social media can impact upon behaviours in crises.

The research aims to “deliver new and innovative ways to understand and influence online behaviour”.

Global security impact

The £10m project allows postgraduates to study the various reasons people may have for joining online ‘hacktivist’ groups, how online and social activity can influence or dictate real-world crises and how changes brought about by the ‘information age’ are impacting upon global security.

Global threats are throwing up new challenges for the defence industry supply chain and procurement sectors. Threats to cyber security can have a major impact on UK industry and an inadequate Information security system can put businesses both large and small at serious risk.

Digital insurgency research

Over the past five years, Dstl has funded multiple PhD projects, and over the last year almost £100,000 was awarded for research on the rise of digital insurgency.

An MOD spokesperson quoted in the Guardian said: “Cyber-security is an issue of growing importance. As routine cyber-security measures (patching, anti-virus) become ubiquitous, socially engineered attacks are a growing threat.

“Dstl seeks to understand these threats and the vulnerabilities they exploit in order to provide effective advice and support to the MOD and wider government on defending against these threats.”

The spokesperson added that the MOD was also “trying to understand the world in which we live and anticipate the world in which we will live” and that to do so “it now needs to incorporate an understanding of events in cyberspace and how they might unfold”.